London Destination Guide
Didn’t think time travel was possible? It is in London. Staunchly proud and wonderfully diverse, London is a city where you can travel back to the 12th century at the Tower of London, or catch a glimpse of the future at the Science Museum.
The British capital also lives passionately in the present, setting trends in everything from food to fashion, music and more. As home to eight million, royalty included, London constantly buzzes with energy and excitement. On any given night you can catch a West End show, a soccer (football) game, a gallery opening or simply make friends in the local pub. Such is the life in London, a city of endless possibilities.
- Country: England
- Currency: British Pound (GBP)
- Offical Language: English
- Visas: Australians do not require a visa
- Tipping: Service is often included in restaurant bills. When it’s not, tips of 10% to 15% are appreciated
- Electricity: UK outlets run on 250V. A Type G adaptor is required
Temperature (max C)
J 7, F 7, M 9, A 11, M 14, J 16, J 19, A 19, S 17, O 13, N 10, D 7
Rainfall (max mm)
J 55, F 41, M 41, A 44, M 50, J 45, J 45, A 50, S 49, O 67, N 60, D 55
Things to do in London are innumerable, but here's a quick selection of the picks. If you’re on a quick trip make sure to ride the London Eye, climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral dome, marvel at Westminster Abbey, and grab discounted theatre tickets in Covent Garden for same-night shows.
If greener pastures and family fun are what you seek, London offers it up in spades. There are more than 300 museums and galleries scattered throughout the city. From the tourism hub of Piccadilly Square to the edgy nightlife of Dalston, London is a playground for all ages.
London’s not the cheapest city in the world but you can still make the most of your pounds with a free visit to the British Museum and the city's grand parks and gardens. Once you've caught the Tube in the wrong direction – at least once – and had afternoon tea at The Ritz, you’ll have a good idea of what London is all about!
See London for free at...
- National Portrait Gallery
- The Tate galleries
- Houses of Parliament
Straddling the gamut of traditional English pubs, 'greasy spoons', Michelin-star restaurants and street food stalls, you can really find anything you fancy in London. Some areas are known for a certain food – Brick Lane is a classic place to find a fine curry and Finsbury Park will dish up great Greek, but London restaurants number in the tens of thousands, with every borough home to its own gems.
With many of the world’s top chefs calling London home, if you want to have a meal cooked by a famous star, you’ve come to the right place. Though not always in the kitchen, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay runs his rule over Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road, while Jaime Oliver is the mastermind behind Fifteen.
Famous for his Middle-Eastern cooking, Yotam Ottolenghi has a flagship cafe called Ottolenghi in Islington and all-day restaurant in Soho called Nopi. For something closer to home, New Zealand celebrity chef and cookbook author Peter Gordon shows off his skills at Kopapa in Covent Garden.
Enjoy a pint at...
- The Mayflower along Thames Path
- Young, refreshing Greenwich Union
- The Heights over central London
From historic hotels fit for a queen to boutique apartments encompassing the latest in technology, accommodation in London runs the gamut of possibilities and budgets. To stay close to the city’s latest and greatest attractions though, we recommend opting for a centrally located hotel in zone one, with popular areas including Covent Garden, Soho or Marylebone.
Choose to base your stay in...
- West End if you want to be central
- South West London for classic hotels
- East London for design hotels
Markets, luxury goods, vintage fashion, quirky boutiques, high-end department stores, food, toys, crafts and electronics – if the world makes it, London sells it somewhere! London shopping can be pleasurable or mayhem, depending on when and where you go.
Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are synonymous with established finery; a handful of well-known markets are at Portobello Road, Camden, Greenwich and Borough. West End has more than 300 shops and the footpaths of Oxford Street are almost permanently swell with bargain-hunting throngs seeking out big brand stores.
King's Road, Saville Row, Carnaby Street and Mayfair are also distinctive shopping areas, while the most fashion-forward boutiques can be found in East London in and around Brick Lane.
London’s best record stores...
- Rough Trade, East London
- Sister Ray, Soho
- Sounds of the Universe, Soho
London like a Local
If you plan on using London’s public transport during your visit (and you should), it is well worth purchasing an Oyster Card. This card can be used to access the London Underground, buses and ferries, and will save you a lot of money and time in the long run. You can purchase tickets for the day, the week, or simply pay as you go.
Get off the tourist trail at...
- Chelsea Psychic Garden
- Eltham Palace, Greenwich
- Wellcome Collection
1. Book ahead: With a population of over eight million, things get booked up quickly in London. If you really want to visit a certain art gallery, show, restaurant, cocktail bar or musical while in town, we really recommend you book ahead to avoid disappointment. Opentable.com is a great way to book ahead for a huge variety of restaurants.
2. Cheap theatre tickets: If you don’t like to plan ahead, check out the TKTS stand in Leicester Square, where heavily discounted theatre tickets can be bought from 10am, for performances later that day.
Did you know...? Big Ben may be London’s most popular tourist attraction but did you know Big Ben is actually the nickname of the bell in the tower? The tower itself is simply referred to as ‘The Clock Tower.’